Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen, Martial Arts - UFC fighter


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What is the most dangerous submission hold in WWE? UFC fighter Chael Sonnen weighs in!, by Joey Styles - 26th October 2012
(Credit: WWE)

Unfortunately for Randy Orton, the answer to this question — what is the most dangerous submission hold in WWE — is the Cross Armbreaker.

The answer comes from a 15-year mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran who is currently the No. 1 contender to Jon Jones’ UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, the charismatic and controversial Chael Sonnen. (@sonnench on Twitter)

Sonnen, a former NCAA Division I Wrestling All-American from the University of Oregon, is familiar with Alberto’s amateur wrestling and MMA accomplishments. The Mexican Aristocrat’s record of mat mastery includes being on the Mexican National Greco Roman Wrestling Team. He would have also competed in the 2000 Olympic Games if Mexico hadn’t been forced to forego a wrestling team due to lack of funding. Wrestling professionally was in Alberto’s bloodline as the son of Dos Caras and nephew of Mil Mascaras. It’s safe to say his career choice was indeed his destiny.

With unfinished business in amateur wrestling still on his mind because of not competing in the Olympic Games, Alberto decided to juggle his professional wrestling career with MMA by competing in Mexico, Spain, Honduras and Japan, amassing a winning record of 9-5 before lacing up his wrestling boots for good. Alberto has been most successful as a WWE Superstar, winning the most prestigious title in the industry’s history, the WWE Championship, twice.

Being surprisingly familiar with WWE submissions, probably because of his friendship with WWE Champion CM Punk, the man referred to by many UFC fans as, ironically, “The People’s Champ” weighed in.

“Punk is a submission whiz who trains with former UFC fighter, Shonie Carter in Chicago. Punk even has a gym in his basement now,” Sonnen said. “He likes the Anaconda Vise. The Undertaker uses the gogoplata [known to WWE fans as Hell’s Gate]. The Figure-Four Leglock will crush a knee, but it is very intricate and difficult to set up. The standing Abdominal Stretch is applied on the ground in MMA and called a Twister. Again, it’s very difficult to set up, but brutal to be in. Alberto’s Cross Armbreaker is known as an armbar in MMA and it is a staple of every fighter’s repertoire.”

Though Alberto’s submission hold appears simple, a competitor would be naïve to underestimate any variation of an armbar.

“The armbar is very basic,” Sonnen said. “Anything that really works at high level competition is basic. It is really hard to stop somebody who is using their full body against your one joint. An armbar is one fighter using his arms, legs and hips to apply pressure on an elbow. An armbar can be applied quickly and effectively from almost any position. I tapped out to an armbar quickly twice yesterday in training. There is a point of no return with an armbar where there is only one centimeter more before the elbow breaks. You can tap out or spend six months recovering from surgery.

“The very first time I saw an armbar, it was demonstrated by 1984 Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Gold Medalist Mark Schultz,” Sonnen added. Mark and his brother Dave are the only siblings to both win Olympic Gold Medals and World Freestyle Wrestling Championships, the latter of which when they defeated the Soviet Union’s grapplers who boycotted the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles during the Cold War.

“To make a point, Mark put a two-by-four between his legs and instantly snapped it,” Sonnen said. “The point that he was making was how effective the armbar is. When you trap anything between your arms and legs and elevate your hips, you will break it. Besides being so basic and so effective, it can be applied quickly from almost any position.”

So while The Viper can strike at any time and any place with the RKO, the same can be said for the application of Alberto’s Cross Armbreaker. What this means is that no matter how long their sure-to-be-a-clinic match at Hell in a Cell lasts, the end will come suddenly for one of these two Superstars.


King Mo thinks he may be leading way for more MMA fighters to do pro wrestling, by Dave Meltzer - 3rd October 2012
(Credit: Wrestling Observer)

Former Strikeforce champion "King" Mo Lawal thinks his debut on Thursday night on a pro wrestling television show may pave the way for others to follow, as well as lead to promotional opportunities for each side.

.King Mo Lawal may become the first person in the U.S. to regularly appear on both MMA and pro wrestling programming at the same time, but he doesn't think he'll be the last.

He joked on Wednesday, one day before he makes his debut as a character on TNA Impact Wrestling, Spike TV's wrestling franchise, that ever since word got out about his deal to be a major player with two companies in altogether different worlds at the same time, he's been getting calls from fighters asking how they can get a similar deal to break into pro wrestling.

"Just about every number (on his phone) from MMA has been, 'Man, you're lucky. How can I do it too?,"' said Lawal, who will debut with Bellator in their light heavyweight tournament starting in January. "They ask, 'What should I do?' I've had some big names, real big names, contact me. Don't be surprised if you don't see some very big names joining me in the future in TNA."

He even talked about the possibility of a Bellator faction in TNA. Because Spike TV is the home of TNA, and parent company Viacom owns Bellator, which starts on Spike in 2013, both companies have been ratcheting up the cross-promotion, feeling there is a significant crossover fan base. The reality was that the original fan base when UFC exploded in 2005 on Spike TV, consisted mostly of pro wrestling fans between the ages of 18-34 who were watching Raw, which was on Spike at that point, and served as the lead-in for the first season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. The entire Japanese MMA economy was built at first on crossing over both pro wrestlers and pro wrestling fans.

For the past year plus, even before Viacom purchased Bellator, it was a fairly regular deal to see the announcers for each company plug the others' television show. Of late, the cross-promotion has gotten stronger. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, announcer Sean Wheelock, and fighters Joe Warren and Eddie Alvarez have all appeared in the past on TNA television. TNA has also used MMA fighters Frank Trigg, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz (during the period he was out of UFC) over the years. On Friday night's Bellator season opener, they openly pushed Lawal's first appearance on Impact, to the point they aired an interview by Hulk Hogan from the Impact show the night before.

Lawal talked about expanding the co-promotional ideas, such as having TNA wrestlers work his corner or be at ringside during his Bellator fights next year, and more Bellator personalities appearing on Impact.

"I want to do an angle where we do a Bellator takeover, like Brett Rogers, Ben Askren, the Pitbull Brothers, and Michael Chandler come over and help me out when I need help. I may need help from Aces and 8s (a new masked villainous group on the wrestling show)."

The idea of people doing both pro wrestling and MMA at the same time was a regular part of both industries in Japan almost from the inception. But there, lines were blurred greatly. There were legitimate, real matches at times on pro wrestling shows. And while they were never advertised as such, there were, particularly in the 90s, often things billed as real matches on MMA shows that were just pro wrestling matches. There were several organizations in that time period that were almost a missing link between the two, which regularly featured both competitive and entertainment matches and some of the guys, notably Japanese MMA stars like Kiyoshi Tamura and Kazushi Sakuraba, were so good at making pro wrestling matches look real, that it was at times hard to tell what was what. There are a not a few, but a multitude of pro wrestling matches listed on some big names' MMA records in current databases.

In the U.S., it's completely different. There is no confusion over what is what. What there may be confusion about is what is easier.

"A lot of people in MMA don't realize how hard this is," said Lawal, who has just started training at a camp in Louisville under the auspices of Allan Sarven, a former pro wrestler best known as Al Snow. In a weird trivia note, Sarven was in Dan Severn's corner during the early days of Severn's MMA career. "I definitely feel MMA is easier than pro wrestling."

"It's different, I'm used to knocking people out," said Lawal, a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion who has an 8-1 record with one no contest in MMA. "Now I have to be a lot smarter how I'm hitting people."

Lawal hasn't had a lot of time to work on his wrestling training. He's been studying a lot of videotapes, mostly of wrestlers from the 80s, looking at their mechanics in the ring. He's been doing a lot of media this week, but he's going to Holland in November to work on his kickboxing skills, and back to the AKA Gym in San Jose in December, to prepare for his January fight. But he noted that even when he has fights upcoming, he'd like to keep his face on the wrestling show, noting that they tape in Orlando, Fla., and he can train with the Blackzillians camp in Boca Raton, Fla. on those days.

Pro wrestling is nothing new to him, as he started watching it at a young age. He talks about how much he loved Mid South Wrestling, a promotion that was big in Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, but actually folded when he was only six years old. At his press call, he talked about the details of a famous match between two of his favorites, Ric Flair and Sting, on television at the first Clash of Champions.

He was only seven when that bout took place in early 1988.

He noted he was more of a fan of the other brands than the World Wrestling Federation in those days, so his favorites were more Sting, The Great Muta, Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and others. While he noted he had recently met Hulk Hogan, the aging star of the TNA promotion, it was meeting Sting that was the bigger thrill.

"To me it was an honor just to shake Sting's hand," he said. "When I see him, I start sweating, I get nervous."

Later, when growing up, his goals in life were to first win a gold medal as an amateur, a goal he didn't reach, then win a world championship in MMA, which did happen, and cap it off by winning a world championship as a pro wrestler. His goal was always to wind up in pro wrestling, and his King Mo MMA character was taken from seeing the wrestler Jerry Lawler as a kid.

When the joint offer came from Bellator, TNA and Spike, he said he didn't even think about the money. He said he also didn't think much about staying with Strikeforce. Lawal was expected to face Gegard Mousasi, who he had beaten before, for the vacant Strikeforce light heavyweight title when his world started collapsing. First, he tested positive for an anabolic steroid in a win over Lorenz Larkin, which was then overturned. Then he was fired by Zuffa when, after his hearing, he went on twitter and called female commissioner Pat Ludvall of the Nevada State Athletic Commission a "racist b----."

Then he battled a staph infection that resulted in countless operations, which got so bad it was life threatening and he's only recently fully recovered from.

"When I got the contract, I was ready to sign it," he said. "I didn't even hear the numbers. It was a deal to fight in Bellator and do pro wrestling, I thought, `I'm going to do it.' I was thinking about Sting, Hogan, I'm going to sign this. This is going to go down. As far as the lines being blurred (between wrestling and MMA by doing both), in Bellator, we fight in the cage. In TNA, we wrestle in the ring. If people can't realize the difference, that's their problem."

But it wasn't until this past Thursday when it really hit him.

"I was watching TNA with my boys and Hulk Hogan went to the ring, and we're talking. Then I heard Hogan say, 'King Mo.' I rewinded it. I heard Hulk Hogan say we're going to bring in King Mo. I almost fainted. That's when it hit me. I'm going to make an appearance. I almost fainted. I'm still scared, armpits sweating, can't sleep, it's something I've been dreaming of my entire life. When I fight, I'm not nervous. I know I'm going to knock somebody out. Here, I'm just going to do what I'm going to do."

There are no plans as far as when he's going to have his first pro wrestling match, saying it won't be until Snow says he's ready, and he knows that is a ways away. His current role will be to build for a role as a guest enforcer in a match on a TNA pay-per-view show on Oct. 14 from Phoenix. A guest enforcer is essentially a role for a tough guy positioned at ringside to make sure nobody interferes in the match, and to be the backup referee when the original referee gets knocked out, which is almost guaranteed to happen when an enforcer is there. The role was first created in the 90s for Chuck Norris when he did a WWF appearance.


The Top 10 best MMA fights of the rest of 2012...

There are plenty of exciting fights to look forward to before 2013. Here’s a look at our top 10 (barring injuries):

10. Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le (UFC on Fuel TV 6, Nov. 10 in Macau)
This one isn’t as much about the fight as it is about the significance of the event – the UFC’s first in China. Neither of these guys is currently in their prime, but they always give crowd-pleasing performances. Le, a native of Vietnam, should have a massive Asian following.

9. Eddie Alvarez vs. Patricky Freire (Bellator 76, Oct. 12 in Windsor, Ontario)
Alvarez might have dropped the Bellator title last year to Michael Chandler, but he’s still one of the top 15 lightweights in the world. This also could be his last Bellator fight with his contract expiring – don’t be surprised if he’s in the UFC in 2013. Explosive knockout artist Freire will be a game opponent.

8. Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson, UFC flyweight title (UFC 152, Sept. 22 in Toronto)
Don’t blink. These are two of the fastest guys in MMA and both challenged for the bantamweight title before the UFC created its flyweight division. This bout will determine the company’s first-ever flyweight champion and these are legitimately the top two guys in the world at 125.

7. Shane Carwin vs. Roy Nelson (TUF 16 finale, Dec. 15 in Las Vegas)
There’s very little chance this one leaves the first round. Carwin and Nelson love to slug it out and after coaching against one another on “The Ultimate Fighter” they probably won’t be too friendly. It’ll be nice to see Carwin, a former heavyweight top contender, back in the cage.

6. Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir (Strikeforce: Mir vs. Cormier, Oct. 27 in TBA)
This might be a Strikeforce fight, but it has UFC implications. Mir, the former UFC heavyweight champion, takes on Strikeforce champ Cormier in somewhat of a crossover matchup. But Cormier will be in the UFC right after this fight courtesy of Strikeforce's heavyweight division being disbanded and a win here puts him on path for a title shot in 2013.

5. BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald (UFC on Fox 5, Dec. 8 in Seattle)
The trash talk has already been fun between the two, but things will really heat up when they enter the Octagon. Think of this as something of a passing of the torch fight. Penn, in the twilight of his career, will put up a strong challenge against the young lion, but the multi-faceted MacDonald is nearing superstardom in the welterweight division.

4. Benson Henderson (c) vs. Nate Diaz, UFC lightweight title (UFC on Fox 5, Dec. 8 in Seattle)
This could easily be a Fight of the Year candidate if it goes how it’s supposed to. Neither of these guys gives an inch – both Henderson and Diaz are perpetually moving forward. A win here, against a superior standup fighter in Diaz, would put Henderson’s name among the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

3. Jose Aldo (c) vs. Frankie Edgar, UFC featherweight title (UFC 153, Oct. 13 in Rio)
Well, this is a pleasant surprise. Aldo was supposed to defend his title against Erik Koch, but Koch had to pull out with an injury and his loss is the fans’ gain. Edgar was the UFC lightweight champion for more than a year and his last two losses were by the slimmest of margins. Aldo, meanwhile, is a buzzsaw – one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. This is, indeed, a superfight.

2. Georges St. Pierre (c) vs. Carlos Condit, UFC welterweight unification (UFC 154, Nov. 17 in Montreal)
It seems like it’s been forever since St. Pierre has fought. One of the best MMA fighters of all time has not competed in more than a year and a half due to injuries, including a torn ACL. He returns to face red-hot Carlos Condit, who is coming off a win over Nick Diaz in January. St. Pierre, a dominant champ, has never faced anyone with the combination of speed, athleticism and technique that Condit has.

1. Junior dos Santos (c) vs. Cain Velasquez, UFC heavyweight title (UFC 155, Dec. 29 in Las Vegas)

This time, we’ll get the incredible battle of wills that we were promised last year. Velasquez lost his title to dos Santos last November in just over a minute via stunning knockout. To make matters worse, it was the UFC’s first show on Fox and the company took undeserved criticism for the quick, flash KO.

Who knew that dos Santos-Velasquez wouldn’t be a war? This one will make up for it, closing the year on a huge high note – the two best heavyweights in the world trading in the center of the cage. Only one will be standing at the end. (New York Post)



Former WWE champion Dave Bautista gets new opponent

Dave Bautista

Former WWE champion Dave Bautista has a new opponent heading into Saturday’s CESMMA event in Providence.

The promotion announced tonight at Vince Lucero (20-22) has stepped in on short notice after Rashid Evans pulled out of the fight last week. The 40-year-old Lucero is 0-9-1 in his last 10 fights, though he has fought multiple UFC veterans including Tim Slyvia, Roy Nelson, Eddie Sanchez, Lavar Johnson, Brad Imes, Tim Hague.

The 43-year-old makes his MMA debut on Saturday at the Dunkin Donuts Center follwing in the footsteps of other former pro wrestlers like Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley.




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